Did you know the word “multitasking” was invented to describe the way a computer can do more than one function at a time? Like search the internet and receive an email. It’s a word to describe a computer, not a human.
Unlike computers, humans are actually not capable of multitasking. Can we walk and talk at once? Sure, but we can only focus on one function at a time. If the conversation turns to a topic which requires deep thought, your pace will slow and even stop. If you need to cross a busy street, the conversation will take a pause. Humans are simply not capable of giving their attention to more than one thing at a time.
This applies to your mindset as well. If you find yourself living somewhere but focusing on being somewhere else, then you’re not really anywhere at all.
If you move a lot for the military, or ministry, or for your job… then you know what I’m talking about.
My husband is an associate pastor at a church in town. His primary role is to lead the youth and children’s ministry at our church, but he also steps in to help preach and serve the adults when needed. I know he loves his job, and we both love where we are. But there is a calling on his life to serve in a lead pastor position, and there’s a calling in my life to be in ministry outside of the Bible Belt.
When we first arrived in SC to begin this phase of our lives, we had an unknown period of time ahead of us, but certainly at least 5 years. When you know you’ll be somewhere for a good chunk of time, it’s easy to buckle down and dig into community.
In the last few years, we’ve felt the clock ticking. Will it be 3 years? 2? Less than 1? We aren’t sure, but we are sure the move is coming.
Before I knew it, I was distancing myself from anything that would tie me to this place. I was careful about developing deep connections. I was not ready to commit to anything that went out further than a year, including a home purchase or major renovation.
And with any hardship or failure I experienced, the solution in my mind was to just move. Overwhelmed with a certain ministry? You can do it for 6 more months and then you’ll be gone. Difficult person? Fake a smile for a little while and soon you’ll leave them in the dust.
At first I had no idea I was doing it. They were quiet and logical thoughts throughout my day. I was being practical… always have been. But the years passed by, and when we hit the 2 year mark of thinking we were “about to leave,” I had to have a hard conversation with myself.
You can do anything for a little while, and when you believe that little while is almost over you can do it even longer. But for 2 years, Trevor and I had been saying, “only a few years left.” And this past New Years Eve, I realized the toll this mindset was taking me.
Being half here and half somewhere else really put me nowhere. I wasn’t finding any meaning in this season here, and I was romanticizing any other place that came to mind.
So what can you do when you catch yourself living half in and half out?
First, take some time to reflect on the ways this mindset has been influencing your behavior. Ask yourself these questions:
If you’re doing any or all of these things it’s a good sign you’re half in and half out. If you are moving in the next 3 months, you can go on living this way and it may preserve some of your mental and emotional strength when the move does come.
But if you are not in an active season of moving, it’s time to let this mindset go. You’re missing out on the life you have around you right now where you are. You don’t know the way God could use you in this short season you may have left.
And you don’t know for sure how short it will be.
If two years from now you haven’t left town… will you be satisfied with the years you’ve spent? Did you make the memories you could only make in that year? With those people? While your daughter was four? While your parent was alive? While you had your health?
We aren’t promised tomorrow, and living like it’s coming can be a dangerous thing to do.
This year I decided to be “here.” Wherever that is. I truly believe that if God calls me to be somewhere else, He will make a way to get there. He doesn’t need me to be planning and plotting two years in advance.
But if I’m not careful- it doesn’t matter what I believe. The fears and thoughts can creep in and put me back in the nowhere place.
If you’ve been struggling with this as well, know you’re not alone my moving friend. Also know that there is joy and friendship to be had here, for however long you’ll be here. Let’s go get it.
And check out How to Make Friends in a New City, you can use these same methods in the city you’re in now!